Friday, 16 May 2008

The Story of Agnew Bis

Local dogs are attached to the hook of a 70 metre crane
By their extendable leads.
Agnew Bis, the operator, with a bank of cctv monitors guiding his lever,
Gently draws them along their respective streets.
All the dogs he walks have undergone radical surgery:
Removal of the left side of their brain.
The technical term is 'hemispherectomy.'

The crane operator, Agnew Bis, occupies a cab slotted
65 metres into the sky. He says, 'Let me refresh your glass,'
Before applying a chamois to the inside of his four identical windows.
Latex coated wipers sluice the outside
Leaving a thickening cuticle of ash and particulate
Puffed from the nearby fluted steel chimney.

Following a period of post-operative convalescence,
All the dogs routinely stockpile detritus,
Storing it between gum and cheek.
By the end of their walk, their jaws are swollen beyond recognition.
Some owners have fitted the dogs with wicker panniers
And taught them to distribute their finds first to the right,
Then to the left.
The council is now considering payment of a small fee
In recognition of the dogs' assistance in the fight against fouling --
If a dog dungs, the succeeding post-operative dog
Will always gather it up.
This is a fully realised urban ecological cycle.

The hollow in their canine skulls is quickly filled
With an expanded right hemisphere.
The new brain tissue is smooth
With the grey matter like the flush of growth following a razor.

For the past month, Agnew Bis has watched the dogs
Calibrating lamp posts and post boxes with their urine,
Organising a pissing rota that has the tallest breeds visiting first
And then allowing an interval of time to pass
So a visible residue is established,
Before the next dogs piss.
Each successive dog is smaller than his predecessor

Bitches have created a rota that spirals outwards
From a hub.

Exactly why the dogs and bitches require
A means of measurement is unclear.
However, Agnew Bis has observed a physiological change
In their hind paws. The pads have fused, the digits have elongated.
They more and more resemble human feet.
Agnew Bis recalls having read that Julius Caesar's favourite horse
Had feet identical to its rider.

A bird, possibly a hoopoe, regularly visits the derrick
And inches down the gantry,
Liming it with the precision of a groundsman or groundswoman
Defining a pitch.

Following the removal of a tumour,
Inside the skull of Agnew Bis
Is the surgically transplanted left hemisphere
Of a German Shepherd Dog.
After his operation, he was sent to puppy school.

The crane is also a Foucault’s pendulum
The dependant chain registers the earth's rotation
And swings in a broad figure of eight
Which Agnew Bis has to correct before the dogs he walks
Are coerced into unfamiliar routes by physics.

Occasionally, he is buzzed by hang gliding graffiti artists.
They have tagged the fluted steel chimney opposite.
Agnew Bis fights them off with a high power water gun
Filled with bacterially ravaged eye drops.
Despite their protective goggles,
The hang gliding graffiti artists plunge to earth
With severe conjunctivitis.

Agnew Bis sleeps in the cab of his crane
Wrapped in 5 layers of medical examination-table paper.
His vitrine is the waning moon.

20 metres below him
His lover is frozen with vertigo inside the hooped access ladder.
Her increasingly skeletonized form feeds the ideal of industrial beauty.

At night Agnew Bis uses the crane's hook
To ease the factories and houses
From their foundations, lifting one edge,

Letting the hoopoe in.

Then he listens to what remains of his lover's heartbeat
Crawling slowly through the metal.


Moxy said...

I can write shorter poems, honestly! Unlike all the other pieces I've posted, this is one I wrote earlier.

Moxy said...
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